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Professor Prue Hart
Joint convenor, D-Light

Prue Hart is a Principal Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor at the Telethon Kids Institute and University of Western Australia.  She currently heads the Inflammation Laboratory Group. Prue is a University of Qld PhD graduate.  After working at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, the University of Melbourne and Flinders University, she relocated to Perth in 2003.  Prue's research interests include cellular immunology and inflammation control, with particular interest in the immunomodulatory effects of UV-B exposure and vitamin D.

Prue is the Principal Investigator of PhoCIS which is an NHMRC funded project based on the premise that Vitamin D in our skin may not be the only benefit of sun exposure. This is a world first study to look at prevention of multiple sclerosis using UV-B phototherapy and it involves a clinical trial of patients who have been diagnosed with Clinically Isolated Syndrome (CIS).

Prue also leads a complementary research programme studying the effects of UV radiation on bone marrow-derived dendritic cells and macrophages. Prue proposes that the effect of UV irradiation of skin is long term because it can affect immune progenitor cells in the bone marrow.

Professor Robyn Lucas
Joint convenor, D-Light

Robyn Lucas is a medically trained epidemiologist and public health physician. Robyn is currently Head of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University and an Honorary Research Fellow at the Telethon Kids Institute. Robyn's research focuses on understanding the risks and benefits of sun exposure for human health and determining how low levels of sun exposure and vitamin D effect the risk of autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis. This research will provide the evidence to support optimal sun exposure advice for all Australians.

Robyn leads several epidemiological studies across Australia including the Sun Exposure and Vitamin D Supplementation Study (SEDS) and collaborates on other projects nationally and internationally. SEDS is recruiting Australian adults to a 12 month intervention study of supplementation with sun exposure or vitamin D to test whether there are non-vitamin D benefits of sun exposure, and whether sun exposure can be safely used to raise vitamin D levels. Robyn leads a study based in WA that will examine whether vitamin D metabolites are involved in the risk of developing multiple sclerosis. Robyn is also leading the Canberra component of analyses from the AusD and Seasonal D studies.

Read more about Robyn and view her publications here.

We are the largest research group of our kind in Australia.

The D-Light researchers include:

  • epidemiologists
  • public health physicians
  • immunologists
  • respiratory physiologists
  • nutritionists
  • psychologists
  • health promotion practitioners
  • ophthalmologists
  • clinicians
  • biostatisticians and others.

Our aim is for this community of researchers with a shared interest in sun exposure, vitamin D and children's health to be able to work synergistically - pushing each other to pose new questions, develop new data sources and uncover new understandings.

We also work in close collaboration with the Cancer Council to ensure there is a consistently strong 'translation' focus to our work.